On 7th July 2015, Victoria’s Emergency Management conference hosted the Inaugural Claire Zara Memorial Oration.   This 70 minute session commemorated the ground-breaking contributions of our dear friend and WHGNE colleague, Claire.

In 2014, the foremost disaster and gender scholar, Elaine Enarson, spoke about Claire’s work with men and disasater as ‘path-breaking’. It is truly a loss to international disaster studies that Claire can’t continue this important work.

Our sincere appreciation to Mark Swiney, Tony Poole, Steve O’Malley and the Conference Organising Committee for their unhesitating support.  The prominence they have given to gender and disaster over the past four years has contributed enormously to the attention that is increasingly paid to gender in emergency management. Our hope is that the Claire Zara Memorial Oration will ensure ongoing attention to gender and disaster – a fitting tribute to this extraordinary woman.

liz broderick angus houston gender and disaster oration

Introduction to the panel for the Claire Zara memorial oration

The Oration was given by Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick,  Sir Angus Houston, and Dominic Lane, all of whom noted the significance of Claire’s work in this field. As this was a plenary session, 500 delegates, along with Claire’s family and friends, were present to hear this moving oration.




The Claire Zara Memorial Oration was held on day one in a plenary session of the Emergency Management (EM) Conference in Melbourne on 12th July. The presenter in 2016 was Professor Caroline Taylor AM. Caroline is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts and consultants in the field of child and adult sexual violence and domestic violence and the criminal justice response. Now employed as the Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the CFA, in a challenging and well received presentation, Professor Taylor spoke authoritatively about gender inequity in the sector. It was an especially fitting tribute as she had known Claire personally.







We are pleased to announce the orator for 2017 oration will be Mary Barry, CEO of Our Watch.